Youth Sports: Tiger 9U team finishes strong in Dixie League World Series

·3 min read

Aug. 5—They left their mark, left a legacy and left hungry to come back.

And that's just part of the story Corsicana's 9U baseball team wrote this season when the Cana Tigers became the first team from Navarro Country to earn a trip to the Dixie League World Series.

The Cana 9U Tigers beat Hallsville to win the state title and earn a trip to Monroe (La.), and had an impressive performance, advancing from pool play with a 3-1 record and finishing in the top four (basically third-place) in the national tournament known as the Dixie League World Series.

The Tigers even beat Monroe, which went on to win the Dixie League World Series title. The Cana kids battled everyone to the end.

"They were phenomenal," said coach Michael Jones, who has been coaching this group for three years. "It was a full team effort," he said.

The Tigers are coached by Jones, Shae Boulware and Matt Anderson.

in what was arguably the best game of the tournament, the Tigers beat Blanchard, which was the favorite to win the Series, in the quarterfinals in a game none of the kids or parents will forget as the Tigers won 3-2 in extra innings. Josiah Bernal had the walk-off hit to win the game.

"I think after the Blanchard game the kids and the coaches were exhausted," Jones said. "That game just drained everyone. We left the bases loaded three times. We put a lot of balls in play and the kids played phenomenal defense in that game, and in the entire tournament.

"The amount of defensive plays we made was phenomenal. We had so many big defensive plays," he said. "We had a number of diving defensive plays. Our infield and outfield were just great."

The Tigers have five pitchers — Reese Jones,, Johnnie Garcia, Daxx Anderson, Lake Blendon, and Yandel Contreras. All five play positions as well.

The pitching staff allowed just 18 runs over six games and struck out 26 batters along the way.

The rest of the team — Josiah Bernal (first base), McCoy Boulware (second base), Riley Wilson (OF), James Boyd (OF), Nolan Drake (OF) and Case Armstrong (OF) — round out the lineup. Two players are pickups from Wortham —James Boyd and Case Armstrong.

The pitching staff and defense led the way, and several Tigers had big hits.

The top three hitters were Reese Jones (.615 batting average and .688 on-base percentage), Daxx Anderson (.562 batting average and .588 on-base percentage) and Riley Wilson (.545 batting average and .615 on-base percentage).

There's talent everywhere, but Jones said the best thing about the team is the way the kids feel about each other.

"The best thing is their comradery," Jones said before the team left for Monroe. "We have a great group. They like to work together and they know what the other kids are thinking," he said.

The Cana Tigers had a strong following in Monroe and also back in Corsicana, where more than 80 fans watched the Tigers on a live stream.

"We had great support from the fans and the community," Jones said. "The support we had (at the tournament) and from the fans at home who watched the games on live stream says volumes about the Corsicana community."

Jones said it was an awesome experience for everyone and that the Cana kids left Monroe, hungry and eager to return to the World Series next year as the 10U Tigers.